The Franconia region around Nuremberg, Germany, hopes to establish Europe's first "Linux Valley" with the launch of a new business campus focused on open source innovation.
Linux Business Campus Nuremberg e.V. (LBCN) has opened the doors of its new Innovation Center in the Maxtorhof office center north of the city's historic center, the association said Wednesday. The group is targeting young companies interested in developing new Linux-based or open source-based software applications.
Companies locating in the new complex will pay no rent for the first three months, and an "attractive" rent after this period. The offices have air-conditioned rooms for server farms.
Moreover, LBCN will bring member companies together with universities such as the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuremberg, help establish business contacts through networking with groups such as the Linux Society, and provide additional promotional support within the framework of the Cluster Initiative of the Bavarian State Government and the City of Nuremberg.
The city is the home base of SuSE Linux, a supplier of Linux software, which was acquired by Novell in 2003.
The Franconia region around the city is also home to other innovation centers, including a lab of Lucent Technologies and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS), the main developer of the MP3 audio compression algorithm.
In addition to the local expertise, LBCN offers so-called "campus coaches" with varied professional experience free of charge. The coaching staff can help establish contacts with international companies, assist with the development of new open-source technology and business models, develop strategies for taking products to market, and provide links to Business Angel networks and venture capital companies.
At present, the organization has 13 coaches, a few of whom are former executives of SuSE Linux, including former Chief Technology Officer Jurgen Geck and board member Richard Seibt. Other members include Dirk Haaga, managing director of Red Hat GmbH, Chris Schlager, director of the German Operating System Research Center of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
LBCN memberships range from Euro 100 (AUD$167) per year for an individual to Euro 500 per year for an institution and Euro 1,000 per year for a company, depending on revenue.
Additional information in English is available on the association's Web site at: http://www.lbcn.de/english.